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Brazilian Police Evict Indigenous Squatters from 2014 Stadium Site

As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup, massive construction and reconstruction is taking place, and residents living near stadium sites have faced a series of evictions and relocations. In Rio de Janeiro, a group of indigenous people have been squatting in abandoned structure near the famous Maracana Stadium since about 2006. The building, formerly an Indian museum, is now slated for demolition, making way for a planned 10,000-car parking lot, part of the $500 million renovation of Maracana Stadium. The indigenous group and their supporters staged numerous protests over the past year, trying to halt the planned eviction, but lost their battle on March 22, when hundreds of police officers in riot gear surrounded the building. A tense 12-hour standoff took place, as supporters outside the building were tear-gassed and arrested. By the end of the day, police were able to forcibly remove all members of the community from inside the building. [30 photos]


Signs of Spring

While the official first day of spring was three weeks ago, many in the northern hemisphere are only just starting to experience warmer weather. People, plants, and animals are beginning to emerge from their winter modes to step outside, bloom, and otherwise welcome the sunshine. These photos show glimpses of the new season from around the world, as we shake off the winter and greet the spring. [33 photos]


Native Americans: Portraits From a Century Ago

In the early 1900s, Seattle-based photographer Edward S. Curtis embarked on a project of epic scale, to travel the western United States and document the lives of Native Americans still untouched by Western society. Curtis secured funding from J.P. Morgan, and visited more than 80 tribes over the next 20 years, taking more than 40,000 photographs, 10,000 wax cylinder recordings, and huge volumes of notes and sketches. The end result was a 20-volume set of books illustrated with nearly 2,000 photographs, titled "The North American Indian." In the hundred-plus years since the first volume was published, Curtis's depictions have been both praised and criticized. The sheer documentary value of such a huge and thorough project has been celebrated, while critics of the photography have objected to a perpetuation of the myth of the "noble savage" in stage-managed portraits. Step back now, into the early 20th century, and let Edward Curtis show you just a few of the thousands of faces he viewed through his lens. [19 photos]


Syria in Ruins

While much of the world's attention focuses on a possible war with North Korea, the war currently being fought in Syria grinds on. March of 2013 was a month of grim milestones in Syria. It marked two years since the start of hostilities; the number of war refugees passed one million; and it was was the bloodiest month to date, with more than 6,000 people killed. Neither the pro-Assad forces, nor the group of rebels opposing them have gained much ground recently, and little or no progress has been made by international agencies to halt the bloodshed. The following photographs come from across Syria, taken over the past six weeks, showing just some of the devastation in Aleppo, Deir al-Zor, Homs, Deraa, Idlib, and Damascus. [38 photos]


Femen Stages a 'Topless Jihad'

Earlier today, members of Ukrainian feminist group Femen staged protests across Europe as they called for a "topless jihad." The demonstrations were in support of a young Tunisian activist named Amina Tyler. Last month, Tyler posted naked images of herself online, with the words "I own my body; it's not the source of anyone's honor" written on her bare chest. The head of Tunisia's "Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice," reportedly called for Tyler to be stoned to death for her putatively obscene actions, lest they lead to an epidemic. Tyler has since gone quiet, leading some to fear for her safety. Below are images from Femen's protests today in Sweden, Italy, Ukraine, Belgium, and France. A warning, nearly every photo depicts nudity, and most contain offensive language. [31 photos]


The Masks We Wear

We wear masks for many reasons: for fun, for protection, or to make a statement. In turbulent public settings, obscuring one's face can protect an individual from retaliation while evoking fear and uncertainty in others. Donning the mask of a cultural, political, or religious figure can lend that person power and further his or her legacy. Those who wear masks to protect their faces from environmental hazards may also end up sending a message of caution to outside observers. In many cases, though, masks play a more lighthearted role, allowing the wearer to take part in a festival and become someone (or something) else for a time. I've gathered here a few recent images of people wearing masks, covering their faces for a wide variety of reasons. [36 photos]


Afghanistan: March 2013

Afghan President Hamid Karzai spent last weekend in Qatar, speaking with Qatari officials about mediating possible talks with Taliban officials as the 2014 deadline for NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan approaches. Australia announced it will withdraw most troops by the end of this year, closing down at least one major NATO base. Two newly appointed U.S. officials - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry - paid visits to the country last month, making efforts to shore up relations with Karzai, who has been stepping up his criticism of the U.S. and NATO. The photos below are just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month. [41 photos]


The International Space Station: Expedition 34

Back in November, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) began Expedition 34, and entered into the 13th year of its continuous human habitation. Some of the research goals for Expedition 34 included investigations into the human cardiovascular system in microgravity, the gravity-sensing systems of fish, and the impact of changes in the sun's electromagnetic radiation on Earth's climate. The crew of six astronauts from the United States, Russia, and Canada also took hundreds of photographs of life aboard the ISS and the spectacular views from orbit. Collected here are scenes from Expedition 34, and a few from the current mission, Expedition 35. [40 photos]


Holi 2013: The Festival of Colors

This week Hindus around the world celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is a popular springtime celebration observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike as they celebrate the arrival of spring, commemorate Krishna's pranks, and allow each other a momentary freedom - a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images of this year's Holi festival from across India. [34 photos]


Google Maps a Japanese Nuclear Ghost Town

Two years after the the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the following tsunami and nuclear disaster, a large area around the failed Fukushima nuclear plant is still considered an exclusion zone. Namie, a small city just north of the nuclear power plant, was evacuated shortly after the quake, and its 21,000 townspeople have been unable to return since, leaving it a ghost town. At the invitation of local officials, Google recently deployed its camera-equipped vehicles to Namie to create a street view map of the deserted town so residents can see their abandoned homes, and the world can witness the remains of the disaster. On Google's Map blog, Namie's Mayor Tamotsu Baba said, "Ever since the March disaster, the rest of the world has been moving forward, and many places in Japan have started recovering. But in Namie-machi time stands still... Those of us in the older generation feel that we received this town from our forebears, and we feel great pain that we cannot pass it down to our children." I've collected some of the scenes captured by the Google Maps crew below, a glimpse into an otherworldly landscape a few kilometers north of the Fukushima nuclear plant. [33 photos]


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